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Who We Serve

First 5 Santa Cruz County reaches children who can make great gains with early and smart investments.

First 5 Santa Cruz County’s goal is to serve the most vulnerable children ages 0-5 and their families in Santa Cruz County, including English language learners, and families who live in higher risk zones of the County.



  • First 5 Santa Cruz County supports programs that are wide-reaching. In 2020-21, First 5 Santa Cruz County and our partners served 30% of children ages 0-5 in Santa Cruz County. Quote from partner

  • First 5 Santa Cruz County serves a high number of dual language learners. Of all Latino children ages 0-5 in Santa Cruz County, it’s estimated that at least 42% participated in services funded by First 5 Santa Cruz County. Of the children served by First 5, 73% were Latino, and approximately 54% of children lived in households that were bilingual or spoke primarily Spanish.

  • First 5 Santa Cruz County is serving children in the highest risk zones of Santa Cruz County. The new California Strong Start Index uses information collected at birth to understand the conditions under which California’s babies are born at a very local level. The California Strong Start Index measures resources that are tied to good outcomes and resilience throughout a person’s lifespan, such as healthy birth weight, timely prenatal care, parental education level, and parents’ ability to afford and access health care.  In 2020-21, 86% of children served by First 5 Santa Cruz County lived in the areas of the county with the fewest Strong Start assets, including Live Oak, Santa Cruz, Freedom, and Watsonville.  This is another strong indicator that First 5 Santa Cruz County partners are reaching children and families who typically experience the greatest barriers to good health and well-being. Quote from partner

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